While hearing loss is incredibly commonplace, it’s not so commonly talked about. As such, the complex issue can be confusing for those looking to learn more. But don’t let your doctor or Google overwhelm you – we’re here to break down the top terms you should take with you to your next appointment.
Tinnitus is a fairly common condition that appears as excess noise or ringing when no such physical noise is present. While it affects nearly 17-20% of Australians, there is a major misconception that Tinnitus itself is a disease, while it’s actually just a symptom of a larger issue. It’s caused by a range of things including stress, some medications, certain diseases, and prolonged overexposure to loud sounds. While the ringing is untreatable, hearing aids can help reduce its effects and eliminate the strain of listening.
As the most common hearing loss condition and second most common aging condition, Presbycusis affects elderly ears, meaning it is progressive and irreversible. Much like arthritis, which is the first most common disease in aging individuals, Presbycusis is caused by a combination of factors including genetics, environment, and natural body changes. While there is no cure, modern medicine has made it more livable with cochlear implants.
In cases of severe hearing loss, patients may be treated with these surgical implants that replace the Cochlea of the inner ear with an electronic device. While the implants’ sound spectrum differs to that of natural hearing, they can hugely help patients better recognise and identify sounds. If you’re interested in obtaining implants, consider Advanced Bionics.
Another helpful alternative to natural hearing is a Hearing Loop, which is suited for individuals with hearing aids. It works by eliminating background noise and directing sound straight into the aid. The relatively simple device consists of a microphone, an amplifier, and a coil wire called a Telecoil, and they’re a great option for cinemas, sport matches, or live events where outside sounds may be distracting.
Assisted Listening Device
For those who aren’t yet fitted for hearing aids but want to amplify important sounds and fade out background noise, Assistive Listening Devices are a great solution. They’re typically built with a microphone that captures an audio source near its origin and broadcasts it wirelessly over a transmission method. Hearing aids can help amplify these even further.